19 July 2007
Ketu, Loss, and Gain
What's the difference between "loss" and "gain"? It may be a matter of perspective. Siddhartha Gautama's loss of his future royal glory, meant the gain of liberation. In Jyotish, Vedic astrology, the 12th house is the house of (material) loss and (spiritual) gain. Among the grahas, or planets, Ketu, or the South Node, is the planet most strongly associated with such spiritual gain and enlightenment. In Hindu symbolism, Ketu was once joined to its other half, Rahu, or the North Node. Together, they constituted a crafty demon-serpent, whose desire for immortality resulted in God Vishnu taking His discus and slicing the demon-serpent in two. (Cf. the story of Perseus and Medusa, associated with the fixed star Algol.) The half with the head became Rahu, who is obsessed with the intellect and desires. Rahu leads to wordly success, if understood correctly. The other half became Ketu, who, lacking a head, now lives from the heart, from the core of its very being. "Losing one's head", then, indicates the process of transcending the mind, with its cycles of back-and-forth, this-and-that, lust-and-hate, greed-and-fear. To be liberated is to live without being bound by the intellect, without a head, with nothing above the shoulders but the evening.